“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
1) Jesus — A Man of Sorrows and Acquainted with Grief (Tom Edwards)
Jesus — A Man of Sorrows and Acquainted with Grief
It is in the Messianic chapter of Isaiah 53 where Jesus is described as the above title shows. The verse declares, “He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him” (v. 3).
It can also be pointed out, however, that it was not for himself that the Lord was sorrowful, as if in having a pity party. Rather, as the passage goes on to show, “Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted” (v. 4).
Yes, so much the Lord was willing to undergo for us — and even though we could never earn nor deserve His great concern. “But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him” (v. 5).
When on trial for His life, following Judas’ betrayal, Jesus did not defend Himself to try to avoid the sentence of death. “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth” (v. 7). After false charges were made against the Lord, the High Priest said to Him, “…’Do You not answer? What is it that these men are testifying against You?’ But Jesus kept silent…” (Matt. 26:60-63). It was not until the High Priest then adjured the Lord by the living God to tell whether He was the Christ, the Son of God, that Jesus then spoke up, saying, “You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you will see THE SON OF MAN SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER, and COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN” (vv. 63,64).
The Lord’s sorrow and grief over others, due to His divine knowledge in knowing where they were heading, can clearly be seen in Luke 19:41-44: “When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, ‘If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you when your enemies will throw up a barricade against you, and surround you and hem you in on every side, and they will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.’”
So just as God the Father and the Holy Spirit can be grieved over the sins of man (Gen. 6:6; Isa. 63:10), even so can Jesus the Son of God (Mk. 3:5).
The apostle Paul speaks of the “great sorrow and unceasing grief” that he had in his heart for the lost (Rom. 9:2-4) — and how much more the Lord must have experienced that! Not only had He wept over the city of Jerusalem, as noted above, but Jesus had also greatly longed for their salvation — but they refused. The Lord’s desire to have saved them can also be seen in Luke 13:34: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not have it!” This also corresponds with 2 Peter 3:9, that “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”
Jesus’ heart truly went out to people. He could sympathize. He was greatly moved by their troubles, by their lost state, and by their helplessness: “Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest’” (Matt. 9:36-38).
Another form of grief that Jesus underwent pertains to those emotions in facing the torturous death on the cross at Calvary, as He acknowledges: “…’My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death…’” (Mark 14:34). Here “deeply grieved,” from the Greek word “perilupos,” is defined as “1) very sad, exceedingly sorrowful 2) overcome with sorrow so much as to cause one’s death” (Thayer). In the setting, Jesus is in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night of His betrayal by Judas. It was a time in which He was “very distressed and troubled” (v. 34), with the Greek word for “distressed” meaning, “to throw into terror…to alarm thoroughly…to be struck with terror”; and “troubled” being not only “to be troubled,” but also “great distress or anguish…” (Thayer). It was also during this time in the garden that Luke says of the Lord, “And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground” (Luke 22:44).
What a terrible ordeal the cross was to face, yet Jesus willingly submitted to it as part of His Father’s will and through which an atonement could be made for every lost soul. As the Lord Himself points out: “For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father” (Jn. 10:17,18).
We have seen in this article that God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit can all be grieved over the sins of humanity. Is this not another reason for why we should all become Christians and ever strive to live for the Lord, so that we will not be bringing any grief to the Almighty God? And by serving Him, instead of grief, it will then be quite the opposite that our God will have for us, as seen in these following verses which I have emphasized: “For the LORD takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the afflicted ones with salvation” (Psa. 149:4) and “honor” those who serve His Son (Jn. 12:26). “The LORD favors those who fear Him…” (Psa. 147:11), and “…the blameless in their walk are His delight” (Prov. 11:20). The righteous are certainly not a grief to God.
Especially in view of all that Jesus was willing to go through for us, including its sorrow and grief, we should be even more motivated to live for Him — and to do so joyfully! For “…He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf” (2 Cor. 5:15). In that sacrifice, Jesus tasted death for everyone, which required His being made “a little lower than the angels” by taking on the body of a man that could be put to death (cf. Heb. 2:9). And in entering this world, born of the virgin, what a great sacrifice that was in itself! “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9). The spiritual wealth obtained through Christ is of far greater value than all the material wealth of the world combined! How humble Jesus was to willingly leave the blissfulness of heaven and the glorious state of His heavenly body in order to come to earth to dwell in human flesh, as a man, yet still retaining His Deity. As Paul writes, “who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men” (Phil. 2:6,7). Jesus was God incarnate (Jn. 1-3, 14). “For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form” (Col. 2:9). While on earth, Jesus declared, “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him. …He who has seen Me has seen the Father…” (Jn. 14:7,9). Jesus was and is “the radiance” of His Father’s “glory” and “the exact representation” of His Father’s “nature” (Heb. 1:3).
Christ had been “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” But because of His life and sacrificial death, we can have joy and gladness for all eternity by simply accepting God’s plan of salvation and striving for that heavenly goal where all the redeemed will dwell and where there will be no death, no mourning, no crying, nor pain (Rev. 21:4). For “…the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17). And how much more so that will be experienced in the eternal kingdom of heaven itself, which we are now striving for. As Peter exhorts, “Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you” (2 Pet. 1:10,11).
Looking to Jesus and what He went through on our behalf can help us in our striving against sin and keeping on the right track. “For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Heb. 12:3).
Jesus’ becoming “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” also indicates the great love that He has for humanity — a love that prompted Him to be willing to undergo great difficulties, sacrifices, and sufferings on our behalf. So we should never doubt His great concern for us. And let us also remember that that which led to our Lord being that “man of sorrows and acquainted with grief,” and having to endure all the suffering in which he did, can be summed up in one word, and that being “sin”; but not because of His own sin — for He had none — but because of the sins of others. All of us — as well as all who had ever been or ever will be — who have transgressed God’s word are each the reason for why Christ had to come to this world and do what He did.
May we, therefore, ever live to never more be a cause of grief or sorrow to the Almighty God who has always loved us more than we can even fully realize, but do see supremely expressed in the giving of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, who willingly went to that terrible cross in order to make the great and only atonement that can set man free from the bondage of sin!
The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
Sunday services: 9:00 AM (Bible class); 10 AM & 5 PM (worship)
Wednesday: 7 PM (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/go (The old Gospel Observer website with bulletins going back to March 4, 1990)
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)